Congressman Justin Amash of Michigan proposed an amendment to the defense appropriations bill that would have defunded the National Security Agency program that collects our telephone call data. The Amash-Conyers amendment would have limited the NSA's phone-data collection under Section 215 of the Patriot Act to specific individuals under investigation.
In other words, Rep. Amash's amendment sought to restore in a small degree the Fourth Amendment.
The House voted down the Amash-Conyers amendment yesterday. South Dakota's lone Congresswoman, Kristi Noem, voted against Amash and the Fourth Amendment. Her justification for mass surveillance of her fellow Americans:
Rep. Noem believes more stringent oversight of the NSA is needed, but completely scrapping the program in question would seriously limit our ability to stop terrorist threats and protect American lives [Courtney Heitkamp, spokeswoman for Rep. Kristi Noem, quoted in "Kristi Noem Votes Against Anti-Surveillance Measure," AP via Rapid City Journal, 2013.07.24].
Please note that Rep. Noem's no-vote excuse is detached from fact. As Rep. Amash and Libertarian blogger Ken Santema make clear, the Amash-Conyers amendment did not "completely scrap" NSA surveillance. It left in place surveillance of individuals under investigation and surveillance of foreign communications. Rep. Amash contends that he sought restriction solely on the blanket surveillance that hasn't produced much bang for the Constitution-wrecking buck:
The amendment concerns Patriot Act Sec. 215 alone, not Sec. 702. The administration’s one and only public example of a Sec. 215 “success” is the conviction of a taxi driver for sending money to a Somali group. Reports suggest that the Somali group posed no direct threat to the U.S., the investigation did not uncover an imminent threat, and the data could have been obtained without Sec. 215. For that “success,” the government has collected billions of Americans’ records [Rep. Justin Amash, "Amash NSA Amendment Fact Sheet," official Congressional website, 2013.07.24].
Update 09:08 CDT: Poor Gordon Howie can't even get an amen from Tea-Party sweetheart Rep. Michele Bachmann, who joined Rep. Noem in voting against the Amash Amendment.